“The State of Israel expects the EU to act with full transparency and reveal the scope of its financial aid to organizations that have ties to terror and promote boycotts against Israel,” a Strategic Affairs Ministry report said.
Israel called on the European Union (EU) on Friday to halt funding to more than a dozen European and Palestinian non-governmental organizations that promote boycotts against Israel, saying the financial support violates the EU’s stated policy of opposing boycotts against the Jewish state.
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry published a report with a list of groups that it says receive EU funding and call for boycotts against Israel. It said some of the groups had links to terrorist groups while receiving EU money.
“The State of Israel expects the EU to act with full transparency and reveal the scope of its financial aid to organizations that have ties to terror and promote boycotts against Israel,” the report said. “Israel strongly urges the EU to fully implement in practice its declared policy of rejecting boycotts against Israel, and to immediately halt funding to organizations which promote anti-Israel boycotts and de-legitimization.”
EU officials said the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, received the report from Israel along with a letter requesting a reply and that it’s now under consideration. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not allowed to talk to the media.
Earlier, an EU statement said the bloc was “happy to review any relevant information received concerning EU funded activities.”
“Money from the EU budget may only be spent for the purpose for which it was contracted, under strict transparency rules, and is subject to extensive monitoring requirements,” the statement said.
Anti-Israel NGOs Got $5.9 Million in 2016
Israel said the NGOs received a total of 5 million euros ($5.9 million) in 2016, the last year for which data was available, according to the ministry report.
It accused some of the NGOs of having links to Palestinian terrorist groups, listing among others Norwegian People’s Aid, which received more than 1.7 million euros ($2 million) in 2016.
The US Justice Department announced in April that the group had reached a settlement with the US over accusations that it had provided “training and expert advice or assistance” to Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, as well as other Palestinian terror groups and Iran. As part of the settlement, NPA “admitted to and accepted responsibility for its conduct” and agreed to pay more than $2 million.
The US, along with the EU, considers Hamas, a group that has targeted civilians in suicide bombings and other attacks, as a terrorist organization.
Others singled out in Friday’s report included the British organization War on Want, the Dutch anti-war group PAX and a number of Palestinian groups, including PNGO Net, an umbrella organization that works to coordinate Palestinian civil society.
Anti-Israel Leader Calls Report ‘Another Israeli Aggression’
Munjid Abu Jaish of PNGO Net called Friday’s report “another Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and their institutions.”
The call to the EU follows other steps Israel has taken to ratchet up its fight against the boycott movement. Earlier this year, Israel identified 20 activist groups from around the world whose members would be banned from entering the country over their calls to boycott the Jewish state.
For its part, the EU has recommended that its member states put special labels on exports from Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. It has stopped short of banning “settlement products,” but they do not receive the same tax emptions that products made within the green line receive.
In the years since its formation, the BDS movement has persuaded several church organizations to divest themselves of Israel-related investments and has garnered support on US college campuses. Recently, pop singer Lorde joined a number of other artists who have canceled performances in Israel amid pressure from BDS activists.
Even so, a slew of other musicians have defied boycott calls and performed. Israel has also enjoyed new economic partnerships and diplomatic ties despite calls for boycotts, and it has become a top destination for international sporting and cultural events. Earlier this month, Israel became the first non-European country to host stages of the Giro d’Italia cycling event.